What’s the story, Jackanory?

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This comes up time and time again when we work with clients. They approach us with some news, ask us to write a press release and expect it to be snapped up by the Daily Mail. Here, our Managing Director Ellen Widdup explains why there is so much more to crafting a good story than just sticking words into a template and sending it out into the ether. 

Telling a compelling story is a skill. You know the type that can keep the dinner table gripped with their witty rendition of some little titbit? Those drinkers down the pub that can get the whole bar invested in the outcome of their latest dating escapades? The office gossip who knows the ins and outs of everybody’s business?

They have learned the art of keeping their audience hooked. And it’s not something to be sneered at.

A lot of our team are former – or working – journalists. We’ve made it our life’s work to be storytellers. And we have it down to a fine art.

We know that stories have the power to captivate, evoke emotion, and shape perception. And at Satsuma we use these storytelling techniques to craft and deliver compelling narratives that will actually land you that page in the Daily Mail.

So how do we do it?

Know your audience: Effective storytelling begins with a deep understanding of your audience. Who are they? What do they care about? What challenges or aspirations do they have? You can then tailor your story to resonate with their interests and values, forging a stronger connection and making your message more relevant.

Identify the core message: Every story needs a central message or theme that serves as its foundation. Whether you’re promoting a product, sharing a success story, or addressing a crisis, you need to distil your key message into a clear and concise statement. This central idea will guide the direction of your story and ensure coherence and focus throughout.

Humanise your story: This is the most important of our top tips. You’d be amazed how many times a business laments that they don’t have coverage from a press release based around milestones, anniversaries, cheque presentations or fundraisers. People are naturally drawn to stories that feature relatable characters and emotions. So you always have to look to humanise your narrative by incorporating personal anecdotes, testimonials, or real-life examples. You’ve been fundraising? Great? Why? Who is it for and how will it help them? Showcasing the human side of your brand or organisation helps to build empathy and trust with your audience, making your story more compelling and memorable. So try to think of why the story matters and who it matters to. Put a face to the brand. Give people a reason to invest in your success.

Create tension and resolution: A well-crafted story often follows a narrative arc that includes elements of tension and resolution or triumph over adversity. Introduce conflict or challenges early on to hook your audience’s attention, then gradually build towards a satisfying resolution or outcome. This structure creates suspense and keeps your audience engaged from start to finish.

Use visuals to enhance impact: In today’s digital age, photography and videography play a crucial role in storytelling. By incorporating compelling images, videos, or infographics to complement your narrative, you’re more likely to evoke a stronger emotional response. Visuals also have the power to convey complex ideas quickly and memorably – which is why we use them on every single social media post we write.

Be authentic and transparent: Authenticity is key to building trust and credibility with your audience. Be truthful and transparent in your storytelling, avoiding exaggeration or embellishment. Authentic stories resonate more deeply with audiences and are more likely to inspire action or loyalty towards your brand or cause.

Utilise multiple channels: We know, we know… you want that Daily Mail front page. But there are so many ways to get reach for your story and most importantly, your target audience might not be sat there reading your favourite tabloid. To maximise the reach and impact of your story, our advice is to leverage multiple communication channels. From traditional media outlets to social media platforms and owned channels like blogs or newsletters, explore a variety of mediums to share your narrative with diverse audiences. Each channel offers unique opportunities to engage with different segments of your target audience.

Measure and iterate: Finally, don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of your storytelling efforts and iterate based on feedback and data. Track key metrics such as audience engagement, media coverage, or brand sentiment to gauge the impact of your work. Use these insights to refine your storytelling approach and continually improve your results over time.

Compelling storytelling lies at the heart of successful PR and by understanding your audience, crafting a clear message, humanising your story, and leveraging visual and multi-channel communication, you can create narratives that resonate deeply and drive meaningful engagement.

We know the world is full of storytellers – some good and some abysmal – but we often find that business owners are too close to the subject to approach their content objectively. And this is where we really come in.

We will get to the heart of your stories, weed out the gems, and write in the way required to really engage with you audience – making you more powerful and persuasive than you would be alone.

Come on, give us a whirl and we can get you some results.

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